Best family days out in Barcelona

The key to a great holiday is keeping everyone happy. You work hard all year to make this happen so it’s important that everyone is catered for, and that includes the kids. If you fancy a fun day out in the city from your Barcelona accommodation which includes all the family, take a look at these options.

Aquarium – Port Vell Barcelona

This fabulous aquarium is the largest in Europe. As you walk through the transparent tunnel you will be in awe of the sharks, stingrays, and hordes of colourful tropical fish that swim above your head and all around you. There is plenty to educate and entertain both adults and children alike.

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Barceloneta Beach

With water sports, games, free Wi-Fi, access plus a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and ice cream kiosks, there is something here to entertain everyone in the family all day long.

Cosmo Caixa Science Museum

If you have stepped outside your family villa in Barcelona and the weather is a little cloudy or overcast, or you simply want an escape from the sun for a day, visit the CosmoCaixa Science Museum. The building houses a multitude of exhibitions and interactive displays which tell the fascinating stories of science, space, and nature.

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Port Aventura

This amusement park is slightly outside of Barcelona, but it’s a theme park of Disney proportions in Spain. A train from Barcelona takes you close to the theme park, or it takes around an hour and 20 minutes to drive there. Port Aventura is for thrill seekers, young and old, and is home to the tallest and fastest white knuckle roller coaster in Europe!

Whether your family days out include education or fun fairground rides or even a bit of both in some cases, this is one area of Spain where you will always find lots of family activities to participate in from the moment you step out of your villa in Spain.

 

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Getting around in Spanish

Although the city of Barcelona is easier to navigate than many other European cities, it is still easy to get lost among the labyrinth of pretty streets and the Modernist architecture. Your eyes can easily be averted from your route due to the many picturesque and ornate buildings, bustling bodegas, and luxury boutiques. However, before you run back to your Barcelona accommodation wondering where it all went wrong, try using these handy Spanish phrases which will help you get from A to B in no time at all.

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If you do feel a little lost and have been wandering around for hours, there are easy phrases to help you get back on track. The simple “Where is” phrase is easy to remember and will ensure you reach your desired destination.

¿Dónde está?” – Where is…?

For example, you may be looking for the bus station to take a day trip out of the city or just to get from one neighbourhood to another. This is how you would ask for directions to the bus station.

¿Dónde está la estación de ferrocarril?

You can also substitute the word “ferrocarril” for “autobuses” if you prefer, as it may be easier to remember!

If you wish to catch a train, the easiest phrase to use in Barcelona is the name of the main train station itself, Barcelona Sants. The word for “train” is also super easy to remember: el tren.

What if you are seeking a specific landmark or street? Say you were looking for the Sagrada Familia Cathedral or Las Ramblas: You simply say ¿Dónde está La Sagrada Familia de Gaudi? or ¿Dónde está Las Ramblas?

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Now the only problem you may encounter is when the Catalan person you asked for direction responds in Catalan. Once they realize you are a tourist, they usually will respond in Spanish rather than Catalan.

In response to your question “Where is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia?” they may reply:

A la izquierda – to the left
A la derecha – to the right
Or la primera izquierda/derecha – the first left/right
Derecho – straight ahead
A la esquina – on the corner

They may even tell you how many blocks away it is: “una/dos/tres cuadras”, which means one, two or three blocks.

if you get really stuck, bring out a notepad and ask them to write numbers of buses/metro trams or even draw you a map. You could also take the easy way out and use a translation app on your mobile phone.

Other places you may be looking for during your city travels, especially if you don’t wish to cook in your Barcelona holiday rental. Use the same phrase again:

¿Dónde está un restaurante? … then add the name at the end.
It’s the same if you are looking for a specific street name “Donde esta la calle”? Or el Barrio Gótico if you are looking for the Gothic quarter.

Perhaps you need to withdraw some funds from the ATM: bank is easy to remember – the Spanish word is “el banco”.

If a local has been kind enough to take the time to stop and assist you on your holiday in Spain, don’t forget to say thanks: ¡Muchas Gracias!

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The most popular myths about villa rentals

Many people who have previously checking into 5-star hotel accommodations in Barcelona don’t even consider staying in a villa for their vacation. There are many myths about vacation rentals that holidaymakers consider including the quality, service, and cost of renting a luxury villa in Catalonia. Here are a few of the myths we will attempt to debunk regarding renting a villa in Spain.

 

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Myth No. 1

Renting a villa is too expensive

This really depends on which company you employ to book your villa and how many people are in your traveling party. Think about the total cost of luxury hotel rooms for a family of 8 or 10: You will need at least four to five rooms, or more, and this can add up to a very expensive holiday. When you reserve a villa in Catalonia you pay a fixed price, per week, per fortnight or longer – not a per-person charge or a per-room, per-night charge. Do the math and look at how many people your chosen villa can accommodate. You won’t only have the bedroom space you need, you will also have an outdoor pool, barbecue, patios, and lounge areas which only have to be shared with your traveling party and nobody else.

Myth No. 2

You can’t beat 5-star hotel service

While it is true that 5-star hotels do provide an excellent service, it is also worth remembering that service has to be provided to every other customer staying in the resort at the same time as your party. Therefore, even with the best will in the world, things sometimes don’t get done when required.

With a dedicated villa company, you will have a representative assigned to your property for the duration of your stay. It is likely that your property manager will be based in the local area and know it like the back of their hand. They can provide private personal chefs, arrange cars rentals, book tickets for events, and organize activities for your traveling party. Also if you wish to host a special occasion during your stay they can put in the extra touches in place to make it unique. If you have guests who have specific dietary requirements it is easier to arrange a personal chef for your villa stay or cook the food yourselves than go through a complicated process of explaining this to a hotel and often with no guarantee that your dietary requirements have been adhered to.

 

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Myth No. 3
I know what I am getting with a hotel

If you book into a brand name hotel chain, it is highly likely you will know what you are getting. Villas, however, are unique you can choose one to suit your traveling party and your personalities. Villa companies only take on the best accommodations in prime locations so that each holidaymaker has a trip to remember.

Myth No. 4

What happens if something breaks in my villa during my stay?

Villa rental agents have property managers on call 24/7. If something does go wrong, you don’t have to suffer because it will be fixed as soon as possible. Think of the times you have stayed in a hotel and the room heating has been faulty or the shower hasn’t worked correctly: There isn´t always another room to transfer to because the hotel is full. With a villa rental in Spain you don’t have that problem as issues are addressed and fixed as soon as they are brought to the property manager´s attention.

If you do decide to rent a villa with private pool in Barcelona there are more positive aspects than you originally thought. The cost can be more competitive, special requests can be adhered to, you have full flexibility for dining and dietary requirements, and there is someone on call 24/7 just for you. You can’t ask for more than that.

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Catalonia and its many regions

When people think of the region of Catalonia in northeast Spain, it is portrayed as one region, one principality; however there is much more to Catalonia than meets the eye.

Firstly, it’s made up of several separate regions that incorporate Girona, Catalunya Central, Barcelona, Lleida, Alt Pirineu i Aran, Camp de Tarragona and Terres de L’Ebre, many of which have their own dialects. When booking your Catalonia holiday rental, see below to learn more about the lesser known regions of Catalonia, and then you can choose where to visit during your stay!

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Alt Pirineu i Aran

This is one of the territories defined by the Catalonia Regional Plan and by the Pyrenees, hence the name. Step outside the front door of your Spain vacation rental in this area and you will find snow-capped mountains, charming villages, and flora and fauna in abundance. There are natural parks all around, with wonderful hiking, trekking, and cycling trails. The area isn’t heavily populated but this just adds to the appeal. If you seek peace, solitude, and to be at one with nature, then this corner of Catalonia could be perfect for you.

Lleida

Lleida is approximately 100 km inland from Tarragona and 152 km east of Zaragoza. The region’s main city of the same name has a rich history. La Seu Vella Cathedral towers over the banks of the River Segre which has wonderful walking and cycle paths, while the waterfront is sprinkled with relaxing parks and peaceful havens. Lleida is one of Catalonia’s oldest towns and has settlements which date as far back as the Bronze Age.

Girona

Girona is known for many things: the vibrant terracotta and rich ochre riverside buildings, its ancient Cathedral, St Pere de Galligants, plus lively markets and museums. It’s a city and region that many visitors tend to pass through when arriving or departing from the airport, yet it has rich treasures waiting to be explored. Outside the city lies the beautiful Lake of Banyoles. The surrounding verdant fields and turquoise blue lake are a major summer attraction for water sports and fishing enthusiasts and families just seeking a peaceful retreat away from the crowds.

 

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Tarragona

With its medieval streets, fine shopping, superb restaurants and even a Roman amphitheatre you would be forgiven for spending your entire time in Tarragona. However, a little further afield there is plenty more to see. The tourist resorts of Salou and Cambrils are on every family´s to-do list, however the little known city of Tortosa usually isn’t. Tortosa is a medieval masterpiece with Cathedrals, cloisters, tapas bars, and a charming old-world atmosphere.

Terres de L’Ebre

At the southern tip of Catalonia before you reach Castellon, you find Terres de L’Ebre – a little known region which has incredible natural beauty both inland and on the coast.

The seaside town of L’Ampolla is a fishing port with a backdrop of mountains, striking secluded coves for sunbathing, and plenty of outdoor pursuits from horse riding and golf to fishing and cycling. Ebro Delta National Park is the largest wetland in the entire region of Catalonia. With flora and fauna and diverse wildlife, it is the ideal place to visit to get back to nature, plus El Ports Natural Park is dominated by rugged cliffs and mountains and offers an insight into the endangered species in the area. If you seek natural beauty in a quiet and tranquil, non-touristy environment, drive here from your family villa in Spain and discover a different side to Catalonia.

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